Hope Lewis

Document Type



This essay reflects on the international human rights implications of Hurricane Katrina. For those of us in the human rights movement, it seemed natural to see Katrina and its aftermath as both a massive international humanitarian disaster and a human rights crisis. This was not just the awful result of a huge storm having hit a densely populated area and thereby necessitating the marshalling of public and private humanitarian aid. It also revealed government inaction and affirmatively abusive actions before, during, and after the storm hit that implicate international human rights standards.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Hurricane Katrina (2005), Discrimination, Human rights, Gulf Coast, New Orleans, Bush, Hurricane Rita, South Asian Tsunami, poor, people of color, elderly, racism, International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Hyogo Declaration on Disaster Reduction, African-Americans, internally displaced persons, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Human Rights Law

Original Citation

Originally published in Environmental Justice in the New Millennium: Global Perspectives on Race, Ethnicity, and Human Rights, Filomina C. Steady, ed., New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp.233-251.